Plastic Industry Comments on French Law That Bans Plastics Disposables

Is it really about plastics?

Commenting on the restriction on the sale of disposable plastic products in France, PAGEV Chairman Yavuz Eroğlu says, "Turkish plastics manufacturers may suffer losses of 30 million dollars per year."

Proposition 2015-922 restricting the sale of disposable plastic cups, plates and cutlery from January 1, 2020 was adopted by the French parliament. According to the new regulation, the only disposable products permitted in France will be bio-plastic or compostable plastic products.

Eroğlu said that France did not have a significant manufacturing presence in the restricted product group, and that Germany, Italy and Spain were the leading manufacturers in the EU.

Noting that Spain was the leader in the production of disposable products in Europe, Eroğlu argued that by prohibiting an industry where it does not have a significant presence, France seeks to rearrange the market according to its own requirements and restrict competition in an area where it is not strong.

Eroğlu also stated that the regulation would prevent other EU members from selling to the French market, creating additional unfair competition.

Speaking on the expected impact of the restriction on the economy, including on Turkish companies that export to France, Eroğlu said: "This is an area where France has a foreign trade deficit and is dependent on imports, while Turkey is a leading manufacturer. By adopting this regulation, France causes unfair competition in the plastic product import market of 500 million dollars, and Turkish plastics manufacturers may suffer losses upto 30 million dollars per year. We have a Customs Union agreement with the EU, but Europe Union has yet to achieve a true union among them. We have been harmonizing our laws with European laws during the acquisition process. However, we are now faced with the strange prospect of being unable to export our EU-compliant products to France after 2020."

"Europe will soon cease to be a common market"

Yavuz Eroğlu said that the new regulation revealed another crack in the Union following Brexit, arguing that France violated the single, common market rule of the EU.

Eroğlu explained that no other EU country had imposed such a restriction and that other EU countries were making and selling these products. According to Eroğlu, a plastic product made in Germany will not be marketed in France after 2020, which means that Europe will soon cease to be a common market.

Saying that even the EU's own scientific authorities such as the DG Environment or European Food Safety Agency were unable to sway France's decision, Eroğlu continued:

"Determining whether a product is environmentally friendly requires that its impact on the environment is quantified for its entire life cycle. According to research, there is no reason to ban bioplastics when comparing these to similar paper, ceramic and glass products. We believe that the directive has been prepared haphazardly and with inconsistencies. For example, plates are included in this directive, but are bowls? The directive assumes that plastic plates and cups are single-use only. In truth, no plastic manufacturer makes a product that needs to be thrown away after just one use. Besides, there is no method of manufacturing according to the arbitrary and pseudo-scientific directive that is now in effect in France."

Eroğlu explained that bio-based plastics could not be made at the thicknesses envisaged in the directive, noting that bioplastics were currently not heat resistant and that a product intended to degrade at 25 degrees Celcius would just melt when hot tea is poured into it.

Eroğlu also argued that the directive did not consider the benefits of disposable products for health and hygiene reasons in hospitals, to ensure safety and security in correctional facilities, and to save fuel and replace glass in aircraft as glass can be turned into a dangerous weapon.

Eroğlu also reminded that communicable diseases like the bubonic plague, scarlet fever, smallpox and cholera, as well as the famines and droughts that accompanied them, took hundreds of millions of lives throughout history, and that plastic disposable products were among the key reasons these diseases were halted.

Arguing that the new directive by France would cause more plastic to be disposed into the nature, Eroğlu said "Composting as used in the directive does not mean that a product disappears when disposed into the nature. Bioplastics can only be composted under the correct heat, humidity and environment. People are, of course, unaware of this, and that will cause even more plastic to be dumped into the environment. The most environmentally-friendly and economical solution is to sort plastics at the source and recycle them."

"This directive plays into the election in France"

Yavuz Eroğlu said that in addition to PAGEV, the European Plastics Converters Association (EUPC), of which he is an Packaging Executive Board member, applied to the Commission of Europe to prevent this directive from coming into force in 2020, and that they will continue their negotiations.

Eroğlu further noted that they would seek an audience in Brussels to instigate action by the Commission of Europe, and stated his hopes that the EU would make the necessary stand for its own future and to ensure that scientific facts take precendence over the political agendas of individuals.

Eroğlu argued that the lack of leadership in the EU severely crippled the decision-making mechanism, compelling some EU nations to take populist and stopgap measures recently.

About PAGEV

PAGEV is the trade Foundation, based in Istanbul, representing Turkish Plastics Value Chain.PAGEV now totals 650 trustees and 1250 related members representing %80 of all Industry Revenue. PAGEV has its own Plastic Vocational Tranining Schools with 2000 students . And has a subsidiary whisch is one of the three Authorised Recycling Scheme Companies of Turkey. PAGEV also organizes the One of the World’s top largest Plastic Exhibitions done annualy called “Plasteuroasia”.

PAGEV Video Link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D8Bpd-rNhw

Press contact: Yagmur Cengiz - yagmur.cengiz@pagev.net.tr

Plast Eurasia 23-26 November 2022
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